In my last post on this blog I talked about replacing what was lost when a relationship has ended as part of the healing process. What makes divorce the most difficult of all the losses is that the partner still lives. In death you are forced to accept that you can not bring him/her back the end is final you no longer depend on their love and support. The reality of death make you surrender and you are able to grieve fully for the loss.
I have seen people who after a divorce fall into trap of expecting the ex -partner to continue giving them support. In order for the healing process to begin the first thing is to let go of needing the emotional support from the ex-partner. When the relationship has ended it does take time to adjust expectations from marriage partner to ex -partner part of us is still expecting something in return. The only solution like I have said above is to let go of that need of support from an ex.
Like I mentioned above in divorce the partner is still alive dealing with them can make it hard to cut them off completely from one’s life. There was a time when I resented the fact that my ex was treating me badly and I got jealous that my ex -husband was getting love and support from someone else. The solution for me was to let go my dependence on him. While I desperately needed answers from him I made sure that I did not allow him to continue hurting me I decided and believed I was not a victim.
I consistently cultivated and maintained a healing attitude by simply avoiding about my feelings but in my own way sought to find a deeper understanding and acceptance of what had happened to me. I explored my past feelings by enriching them with the intent to find forgiveness for my ex and having faith that I will be able to trust again.
Any relationship breakdown is a loss of many things. A marriage breakdown means first a loss of someone you shared the most personal life issues with. A companion to do things with e.g. going out for meals, it is always nice to be with some one. Holidays are most enjoyable when you go with another person to just mention a few things that are lost when a relationship comes to an end.
The first thing I did when my marriage ended was to work out ways of replacing what I had lost. In one of the post I mentioned going back to college, once I had completed my studies I then decided to blog which does gives me something I am always looking forward to doing everyday. Alongside my blogging is walking and I as I walk I carry my smartphone for taking photographs. I now realise that I have developed a skill of noticing things which before I never used to do. The world around us has so many beautiful and telling things to perceive when we look intently which has come because I am on my own most of the time.
Having attended a training programme on leading quiet days I am now thinking and planning different quiet days. I have managed to lead one succesful quiet day for people who wanted to declutter their minds before the beginning of the advent season and be ready for christmas.
I feel it is important for those whose marriages have ended to acknowledge and accept what hast been lost and work out ways of replacing all that lost as a result of a broken relationship. Replacing those things lost is one step of moving on with life.
In my last post which I posted way back in January this year I shared about my achievement since my marriage ended. How was that possible this is what this post is about
I have always struggled with forgiving people who hurt me I tend to hold on to the hurt despite the fact that I am a very religious person. If the hurt involves close family members I will cut communication lines until I have worked through the hurt on my own terms. I do in the end resolve issues because family means a lot to me. If the hurt involves friends and colleagues I just stop having anything to do with those who have hurt me.That is how I dealt with hurts.
The end of my marriage has been a blessing in a way as it has helped me to deal seriously about the unforgiving heart of mine. It has taken a marriage break up for me to even begin to understand what the line in the Lord’s prayer which I say daily
‘Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.’ I realised that the more I held to the hurts I was hurting myself by nursing grudges and I was robbing myself of enjoying God’s forginess of me, as I would be thinking that God had not forgiven me.
As you may have noted on some of the previous posts I was very angry with my exhusband and very frustrated that he never allowed me to sit down and talk so that he would know what this break meant to me as a person. As I mentioned I worked through all the things that had hurt me in my marriage and was able to forgive my exhusband. I was able to write and let him know that I had forgiven him for the betrayal and for cheating on me. Once I had done that I felt a heavy weight lifted from my shoulders, and was able to rebuild my life in the ways I shared in my previous posts.
I have just come back from a training programme which was equipping me with skills of leading a quiet day at Woodbrooke Quaker Study centre and this is me during coffee break
This is one other step towards what I was longing for after my whole world had seemingly curved in doing things I always wanted to do with my life. I am now daring to go, with all my experiences in life I feel I have a lot to offer and make a difference in other people’s lives who may be struggling with broken relationships.
In my last post I talked about how I had reinvented my self by gong back to college
This photograph shows my achievement after my marriage had ended this photograph is a testimony that there is nothing which is beyond reach. I worked hard to enhance my confidence which had been undermined by the break up I am now back to my normal self again confidence regained and have become the most capable person I was before getting married what I have achieved is beyond my wildest dreams.
I now believe in myself again this achievement means I am now able to plan to do to what was the love of my life, organizing and conducting training workshops and conferences. Since I am no longer doing this as my day job I plan to use those skills to focus on organizing and leading retreats as a free lance professional. The other thing that has emerged as a result of getting my confidence back is to take on speaking engagements presenting paers on subjects I am passionate about. Three years ago I was invited to be a personal tutor at Luther King House Open College this has given me an opportunity to discover other options I can pursue.
The major responsibility I had in my previous job was being the head of the training department of The Methodist Church in Zimbabwe, now a new area of pecialisation has emerged as a result of the new training which I have under gone. My current employment as a pastoral worker in Sale circuit of the British Methodist church enables me to walk alongside people in their faith journeys a very humbling experience I am privileged to have. I now can see these other possibilities of offering myself to the service of others without the constraints of marriage.
Now and then I do have a nagging feeling of wishing I had someone special to share my life with, however this is no longer an issue as I find fulfillment in the various things I am involved in. To be honest the end of my marriage has now freed me to do things I had never thought I would do. A reason which motivated me to write this blog to share how bad experiences can lead to something special.
As I had settled in my job and felt I had done well as far as career was concerned, and had settled in married life it felt like I had achieved what I had set myself to do with my life. My time was taken by making sure the family life was enhanced and improving where improvement was needed career wise telling myself I will continue to do this until retirement. However when the marriage came to an end I found myself having to think of ways to reinventing myself.
Like I mentioned in my last blog I pursued some of the options I had as far as moving my life on. Arriving at Luther King House to begin further studies was the start of the re-inventing process. During the orientation day as new students we were introduced to schedules of the course I suddenly realised how computers skills were going to be needed, a new world of learning was just beginning. Up until now my only use of computers was to send and receive e-mails in my own home country computers had just begun to be used more and more not to the degree they were used here. If I had to surf the internet it was just like a hobby yet here I was needing to rely on the internet for researching for my degree program.
To begin with it was a big challenge I told myself I was going to give of my best if I was going to achieve the new goals I had set myself as I was picking up the pieces of my broken life. Going back to studying as a mature student as I discovered has its advantage, I realized I was very focused as opposed to what I was when I went to college as a young person. There was an inherent motivation this time round to do the best I could.
At the end of the first semester I could not believe the transformation which was going on in me as a person the more I threw myself into course the more I enjoyed everything, I stopped concentrating on what had happened to me but focused on the new experiences and opportunities which were presenting themselves to me suddenly there was excitement again in my life which I was cherishing a lot. I was now on the road to start a new life cycle and nothing was going to deter me from that goal.
In my last blog I shared how the break had left me questioning if my marriage was all a lie because of what happened, the more I have reflected on how we were to each other the more I am convinced that it was a genuine relationship at the time. We loved each other very much like I said before we were best of friends and made each other laugh a lot. While it lasted we enjoyed each other’s company which made me come to agree with one of step children who said what had happened was ‘midlife crisis’ which had gone too far as far as my husband was concerned.
Having accepted that there was nothing I could do to salvage my marriage, I began to think about my next move towards rebuilding what was already destroyed as far as my life was concerned. First I looked at all the options which were opened to me, weighing them all up in terms of what would be worth pursuing. What complicated matters was that I was already in mid fifties which meant I was supposed to have started making plans of retiring. I was determine to rebuild my life I did not dwell too much on my age instead I carried on working out a strategy of how I was going to rebuild my life. Instead I concentrated on what I would offer to the job market with my experience.
Although I was not working I had registered with a South African distance learning to pursue a theological degree so that was the first option, secondly I had always wanted to write and had already started as I had designed training manuals which are still in use in my previous employment so that was another strong possibility so I had things I would start immediately. However there were things which needed to be done in relation to my marriage, I had to engage a lawyer to understand what was involved as far as divorcing was concerned. I was very clear in my head that I was not going to file for divorce but I was going to respond if and when my husband did file for divorce since he was the one who had started this process I wanted him to complete the process however long it was going to take, the ball was in his court.
I then looked up on the internet for where else I would go to pursue my theological studies, I found a college in England which offered what I wanted; a theological degree for those who are not intending to be clergy. I applied and to my surprise got a very favorable response this was around May time, after some negotiations the college and I agreed that I would be interviewed via the telephone. I got a place to begin my studies in the September of that same year. I then started the process of getting a student visa.
The whole exercise of deciding to going back to studying was a very liberating experience, as I did not sit and feel sorry for myself but actively worked a way out of my predicament. It felt like I had suddenly been given a new lease of life I felt very upbeat about knowing I was in control of my own destiny from now on. Nothing was going to hold me back from becoming who I wanted to be given the circumstances I found myself. I found encouragement in what Richard L.Evans said, ‘Don’t let life discourage you: everyone who got where he is had to begin where he was’ I told myself I was not going to allow what had happened to me discourage me rather I was going to use it to my advantage and make my circumstances the springboard of a new and exciting life which has already begun.
Luther King House is a Partnership For Theological Education, an Affiliate of Manchester University. This is where I was offered a place to pursue my further studies in Theology. and this is where the adventure started and is here where the healing process began as I threw myself in my studies.
While I had braced myself to face whatever was ahead of me in the situation I found myself, I still had to deal with (a) heartbreak and (b) betrayal In the two weeks that followed my husband ending our marriage and me preparing to go back home, I had plenty sleepless nights trying to figure out what had really gone wrong, asking myself what I could have done to help us stay together. In those two weeks I then realised how much I loved my husband who apparently no longer loved me. What I found most hard was trying to work out how the person who had loved me to a point of marrying me could say they no longer love me. In my book you do not suddenly stop loving someone because loving someone is a very strong emotion which you do not shake off at the spare of the moment. For a moment I kept hoping that once we had a family meeting according to culture things would be normal again.
It was at that meeting that I realised the marriage was over I was so taken aback with the hatred expressed by my husband as he told both our families all things the that I had done wrong and that for those reasons he could not be with me any more. I guess what broke my heart were things I did to hurt him which he kept to himself and never talked to me about. In a marriage the couple are supposed to talk about the things that may be bothering either person. I still struggle about why he never brought these things up with me.
I acknowledged my wrong doings (according to him) and asked for forgiveness and promised to change even that was not going to change what my husband had decided ‘to end the marriage’I actual realised that he was not interested in working things out or even our marriage a second chance. Yet in my understanding marriages have to be worked at if they are to survive as it is about two human beings who were brought up very differently and yet try to be one. For days I lost appetite did not even feel hungry I was in turmoil as I had invested a lot in this relationship I was in a dark place as it was reflected in the colours that I was drawn to. If I was going to buy a dress or something I was drawn to the greys and blacks which was the state of my mind my whole world had curved in.
What broke my heart was when I learnt that my husband was already in a relationship, and was planning to get married to someone else he actually got married a year after we had separated, we had not divorced that was a very big betrayal. I guess what got me was how quickly he could fall for someone else to a point of getting married in such a short time. Was our relationship been all a lie I questioned myself, till to this day I have never contemplated falling in love with someone else because I had loved him so much. It is sad that while I was putting all effort to make the marriage work my husband had other ideas.
If ever there was a lesson I learnt about relationships in my predicament the lesson was: ‘never assume things’ as you are bound to get a lot of surprises which I did in a big way. I never suspected that my husband would be unfaithful as I had no reasons to doubt him at all.